First Phing Plugin

I'm a huge fan of Phing and use it regularly for build and deployment tasks. Often, I'll ask about a plugin that I wish existed, and get a very courteous "patches welcome" from the nice people in the #phing channel on freenode. This has happened a few times, so I thought I should probably look at how to make a new phing plugin, this article shows you how to make the simplest thing I could think of: a simple "hello world" plugin. Continue reading

You're Not Using Source Control? Read This!

Last week I wrote an email to a client who hasn't yet implemented source control, but who is thinking about it. It turned into rather a long email as I attempted to convey WAY too much information in one long email. After some twitter banter, I repackaged my thoughts into a whitepaper on Source Control entitled You're not using source control? Read This! (PDF, no registration needed).

The document goes on to talk about the available tools (git, Hg, SVN) and give a sales pitch for _why_ source control has benefits for an organisation. There are also some action points to follow to implement source control if you haven't already taken the leap, which I hope will help anyone looking to take that step - it's kind of awkward in this day and age to admit that your organisation doesn't have source control, but however this situation arose, hopefully this document wraps up my thoughts on how to find a good way out! Continue reading

We Don't Know Deployment: A 4-Step Remedy

Someone emailed me recently, having read my book and wanting some advice. Here's a snippet of his email:


So here's my problem.
We dont know deployment. We work from same copy on one test server through ftp and then upload live on FTP.

We have some small projects and some big collaborative projects.

We host all these projects on our local shared computer which we call test server.
All guys take code from it and return it there. We show our work to clients on that machine and then upload that work to live ftp.

Do you think this is a good scenario or do we make this machine a dev server and introduce a staging server for some projects as well?

I wrote him a reply with some suggestions (and my consulting rate) attached, and we had a little email exchange about some improvements that could fit in with the existing setup, both of the hardware and of the team skills. Then I started to think ... he probably isn't the only person who is wondering if there's a better way. So here's my advice, now with pictures! Continue reading

Mercurial "Not At A Branch Head" Error

Although I write and speak a lot about various kinds of source control (git and subversion are the most popular still as far as I can see), my own development projects are on BitBucket under mercurial (bitbucket also offer git hosting these days, and their tools are great). Recently I was working on an upgrade for BiteStats (note shiny new theme, with thanks to @miss_jwo) and I kept getting this error from hg tag

not at a branch head
Continue reading

Mercurial Primer

I am a source control nut, I've been speaking about Subversion for years, I co-lead an active open source project which uses git and GtiHub, and I've also dabbled with Bazaar. So far I'm feeling the limits of Subversion, loving the code-hosting features of some of the DVCS tools, and hating git and github in equal measure (don't bother to try to talk me out of this, I'm well aware the problems are mostly on my side). I don't know anyone else using Bazaar in the PHP community but I do know quite a few people raving about Mercurial, or Hg. This post is a quick introduction to the commands I have been using since I started trying out Hg and BitBucket for myself.

Continue reading

Speaking at PHPWM: April 6th

Next week I will be making the trip to my original home town of Birmingham to speak at the PHP West Midlands User Group, on 6th April. They are an active user group and although I haven't managed to organise myself to attend their meetings before, I do keep meeting their members at other technical events so I know they are a good crowd and I'm looking forward to this! My talk will be "SVN in a Distributed World" - looking at the features of SVN, of the distributed source control solutions, and thinking about whether SVN is now an outdated technology or whether it is still a good choice for source control.

Hope to see you there!